College & Career Center Newsletter

George Mason High School - August 14, 2020


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Senior Workshop, Wednesday, August 19, 11 am in Schoology, Counseling Class of 2021

Seniors are invited to join the Counselors and College and Career Specialist for a conference in Schoology. We will walk you through how to navigate Naviance, the Common Application, and how to request transcripts for college applications. Please bring your questions!

Virtual College Visits start on Monday, September 14

Admission officers from colleges and universities will be joining us virtually to share information about their schools and answer your questions. These visits are scheduled for 35 minutes. Although students are dismissed from school at noon on Mondays and Fridays, some college visits are scheduled after dismissal to minimize conflicts with instructional time. In Naviance you can see the colleges that have scheduled visits (Quick Links > My Colleges > College Visits). You need to register ahead of time for each visit that interests you in order to obtain the link to join each session; each college visit has a different link.


Senior Worksheet & Parent Brag Sheet

Any student who will need a counselor letter of recommendation for college applications needs to complete the Senior Worksheet and have a parent complete the Parent Brag Sheet. These forms can be found within Naviance; the Parent Brag Sheet is also posted on the College and Career Center website. These materials need to be submitted to your counselor one month before the first college application deadline. The Senior Worksheet is completed in Naviance and the Parent Brag Sheet is emailed to your student's counselor.


Coalition for College Virtual College Fairs

Registration is open for the August College Fairs. More fairs are scheduled in the fall.

Virtual College Fair August Session 1, Wednesday, August 26, 2020, 7–10 pm

Virtual College Fair August Session 2, Thursday, August 27, 2020, 7–10 pm

Southern Tour (Virtual), Tuesday, August 18, 6:30-8 pm

Big picture


In addition to college-specific admission programs, admission officers are sharing information about the application process in general through live virtual programs, videos, and blog posts or articles on their websites. You will find several examples below.

Colleges That Change Lives (CTCL) Virtual Days, Saturday, August 15-Tuesday, August 18

Four days of presentations and information sessions with 42 Colleges That Change Lives. In addition to the featured presentations listed below, there are individual college information sessions. Registration is required for each program.

CTCL and the Liberal Arts – Saturday, August 15, 10 am ET

CTCL and the Liberal Arts, en Español – Saturday, August 15, 2 pm ET

Digital Recruitment and the New Landscape of the College Search Process – Sat., Aug.15, 9 pm ET

The College Athletic Recruiting Process – Sunday, August 16, 11 am ET

CTCL and the Liberal Arts – Sunday, August 16, 5 pm ET

Writing your Personal Statement –Sunday, August 16, 7 pm ET

Engaging and Communicating with a College Admission Office – Monday, Aug. 17, 1 pm ET

Navigating the College Visit – Tuesday, August 18, 3 pm ET

Lafayette College, Essay Writing Workshop & Applying to College in 2020

In addition to holding virtual student panels, information sessions, and campus tours, Lafayette College is offering two general college admission programs.

Applying to College in 2020, Thursday, August 20, 2 pm

Essay Writing Workshop, Friday, August 28, 1 pm

Mount Holyoke College, College Tip Tuesdays

"This eight week series is designed to cover the questions that loom largest in the college search process - especially in our current moment. Join students, alumnae, admission directors, and guest speakers to get to know Mount Holyoke and to gather tips and advice that you can put to use now." Sessions include:

What I Wish I Knew during the Application Process; Advice from Current Students, Tuesday, August 18, 7-7:45 pm

I'm First! The First-Generation Student Experience, Tuesday, August 25, 7-7:45 pm

QuestBridge QuestCasts for the National College Match

QuestBridge is a national nonprofit based in Palo Alto, California that connects the nation’s most exceptional, low-income youth with leading colleges and opportunities. You can view many of their past programs and profiles of the QuestBridge College Partners on the QuestBridge YouTube channel.

Complete Your Best National College Match Application, Wednesday, August 19, 7 pm ET

Three Steps to Securing a Strong Recommendation, Wednesday, August 26, 7 pm ET

Rice University, Application Advice Series

Part III: Insights into the Evaluation, Monday, August, 17, 2 pm CT/3 pm ET

If you are curious about how we review applications, this session is for you. You’ll gain insight on what we look for in an application and what is important to us when making admission decisions.

UChicago & MIT, Athletics Panel, Thursday, August 20, 7-8 pm CT/8-9 pm ET

Join coaches from the University of Chicago and MIT as they discuss athletics and recruitment during the pandemic.

University of Notre Dame, Tips from Counselors

Admission officers at the University of Notre Dame have written the articles below that may help you think about identifying criteria to find colleges that are a good fit and how to go about writing your essay.

University of Pennsylvania, Application Advice Videos

"Starting to plan ahead for the college application process? These videos will provide an overview and some useful tips to consider as you dive in to key parts of the application. Subtitles are provided in both Spanish and English." Videos on a variety of college admission topics, including the one below, are available on the Penn Admissions YouTube site.

Advice on Navigating the College Admissions Process

University of Rochester, College Admissions Workshop Series

"Navigating the college search and decision process can be difficult. Our College Admissions Workshop Series is designed to give you an opportunity to learn directly from our admissions staff on important focused topics related to the college admissions process. Our staff will guide you through each topic and be available to answer any questions you may have as you prepare to apply to the University of Rochester or other institutions." You need to register to attend.

The College Admissions Essay, Tuesday, August 18, 9-10 am and 4-5 pm

College Admissions Interviewing 101, Tuesday, August 25, 9-10 am and 4-5 pm


College fly-in programs are competitive college visitation programs often for underrepresented students. Institutions fly students in to stay at their campuses for a few days, allowing students who might not get a chance to visit otherwise to get a feel for the college and campus. For 2020, many fly-in programs are proceeding in a virtual format. The application deadlines listed below are to participate in these specific admission office programs; they are not the application deadlines for early action/early decision/regular decision application deadlines for Fall 2021 admission. Please check with each admission office (you can link to each admission office by clicking on the name of each college below) to learn what the application deadline is for Fall 2021 admission.


What should I be doing now to apply to college?

The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) is a large professional organization that has prepared many resources for students. Their Senior Checklist can help you manage your college application process. Their checklist includes the following tasks for August and September:

"Applying to college? Follow these steps.


  • Register for the SAT and/or ACT if you didn’t take a college entrance exam as a junior or want to take one again. Remember: Your counselor can help with fee waivers. [GMHS note - check to see if colleges you are interested in are test-optional for Fall 2021 to determine if test scores are required].
  • Take a look at some college applications. Make note of all the pieces of information you will need to compile.
  • Check with your school counselor to make sure you are on track to graduate and fulfill college admission requirements.
  • Take every opportunity to get to know colleges. Meet with college representatives who visit your school, attend local college fairs, and visit campuses.
  • Narrow down your list of colleges. Collect information about the application and financial aid process at each school.
  • Create a checklist and calendar to keep track of standardized test dates, college application due dates, and financial aid deadlines. Make note of the other materials, such as recommendations or essays, you’ll need to complete your applications."

In addition, I'll add the following tasks to the list above:

  • Open accounts for the appropriate application(s), using your personal email account (not your FCCPS address)
  • Complete the data sections (name, address, the GMHS CEEB code is 470795, activities, etc.) with the content that won't change once your senior year begins
  • Cross-reference your application deadlines and add them to your calendar
  • Ask for letters of recommendation
  • Explore if any colleges of interest offer virtual admission interviews and sign up for a time, if appropriate

Common Application Tutorial Videos

There are several First-Year Applicant Tutorial videos on the Common Application YouTube channel that may be helpful to you. If you have not matched your Common Application to Naviance yet, this video will walk you through the steps.


NACAC (National Association for College Admission Counseling), "Test-Optional Means Test-Optional

"The following colleges with test-optional policies in place affirm that they will not penalize students for the absence of a standardized test score. Together, we strongly endorse a student-centered, holistic approach to admission that will not disadvantage any student without a test score." If you click on this link you will find all of the colleges (486 as of 8/13/20) that have signed this statement in agreement.

Care Counts in Crisis: College Admissions Deans Respond to COVID-19, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Make Caring Common Project

"This statement was developed in collaboration with admissions leaders and has been endorsed by leaders at more than 360 institutions across the United States. It describes what college admissions offices value and expect—and don't expect—from students during the pandemic."

Test-Optional and Test Flexible Schools

FairTest, The National Center for Fair and Open Testing, is a resource you can use to learn about test-optional and test flexible schools.


"Deadline for all September test dates is August 28. No late fees!"


August 26 is the registration deadline to take the SAT on the September 26 national test date.


The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will open on October 1. Some schools also require the CSS Profile for financial aid consideration. Please consult individual colleges regarding financial aid forms that are required.

Carnegie Mellon University, Admission Insights Webinar

"We understand that navigating the college admission process can generate all sorts of questions. We have answers! Our admission counselors are ready to share their expertise in our virtual Admission Insight series. This series gives you a behind-the-scenes look at general admission topics, including:"

Financial Aid 101: How to Apply and What to Know, Monday, August 17, 4 pm

MyinTuition, Quick College Cost Estimator

"MyinTuition is a groundbreaking tool developed by a leading economist at Wellesley College that is the quickest college cost estimator available to the public. The calculator asks users just six basic financial questions before providing a personalized estimate of what it would cost an individual to attend college. It estimates the out-of-pocket cost paid by the family along with loan and work-study expectations, in addition to grant assistance (“scholarships”) provided by the institution. Using the estimator takes on average about three minutes. MyinTuition clarifies the often confusing process of understanding what college will cost for students and their families." There are a few videos, including the one below, on the MyinTuition App YouTube channel.

Watch the TED video about MyinTuition


You will find scholarship resources on the College and Career Center Financial Aid and Scholarship website page and within Naviance.


You will find a list of gap year programs on the College and Career Center Gap Year website page.

AmeriCorps NCCC

Interested in learning more about AmeriCorps NCCC's programs, benefits, and requirements? Join them for an interactive webinar to learn about opportunities. You need to register in advance.

AmeriCorps NCCC Webinar, Tuesday, August 18, 4 pm ET

Dynamy Internship Year

"Dynamy Internship Year (DIY) is a domestic, long-standing gap-year program created for students ages 17-22 who want to pursue a unique, hands-on learning experience." Registration with the Admission Office is required to attend the Open House.

Dynamy Internship Year Virtual Open House, Wednesday, August 26, 7 pm

This information is provided for your convenience. Postings do not indicate endorsement or sponsorship by George Mason High School, FCCPS, nor any administrator or employee of either George Mason High School or FCCPS.